Harvard has defeated four top-10 teams in the last three seasons.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The No. 12/12 Harvard men’s lacrosse team remained unbeaten to begin the year as it knocked off No. 4/4 Duke Saturday afternoon at Shuart Stadium.
Harvard did not need the overtime dramatics it had become accustomed to in improving to 4-0 for the first time since 2002. Trailing 5-4 in the second quarter, the Crimson erupted for an 8-0 run that began in the second quarter and did not end until the fourth, taking up 27:46 of actual game time.
Devin Dwyer and Morgan Cheek led the way for Harvard with six points apiece. Dwyer scored four goals and added two assists to move his point-scoring streak to 37 games as Cheek added three goals and three assists. Brendan Newman also scored two goals, with Joe Lang and Sean Coleman contributing one goal and one assist each.
Robert Shaw earned his fourth-straight win in goal with 10 saves. Jack Breit and Bobby Duvnjak each collected five ground balls in the defensive third, and Keegan Michel went 14-of-24 at the X.
Harvard was effective on the ride all day, limiting Duke (4-2) to 16-of-25 on clear attempts. The Blue Devils were led by Justin Guterding (3g, 3a), Jack Bruckner (3g, 1a) and Deemer Class (2g, 2a). Myles Jones, the first overall selection in this year’s Major League Lacrosse Draft, was limited to just one assist while taking four shots.
Duke scored quickly to begin the game, but Harvard responded with goals from Dwyer and Cheek to move in front, 2-1. The Blue Devils tied the score at 2-2 and again at 3-3, before regaining the lead on Guterding’s first goal with 13:01 to play in the second quarter, 4-3.
Ian Ardrey fed Cheek on the doorstep to even the score, 4-4, and a pair of strikes from Dwyer put the Crimson back on top, 6-5. Harvard extended its advantage with goals off the sticks of Sean Coleman and J.T. Palladino, and after Dwyer cashed in for the fourth time the margin stood at 9-5.
Sean Mahon added a goal of his own to make it a 6-0 run, sending Harvard into the intermission with a 10-5 lead.
Joe Lang made it seven-straight goals with what proved to be the only score of the third quarter, and following Newman’s second of the day the score stood at 12-5.
Duke stopped the bleeding and pulled to within 12-8 with 7:00 to play, but Cheek halted the comeback attempt to complete his hat trick. Sean McDonagh added one of his own before the Crimson stormed the field, celebrating the 14-9 victory.
Game Notes: Harvard is 4-0 to begin the season for the first time since 2002 … Harvard has defeated 14 ranked opponents under head coach Chris Wojcik ’96, including four wins over top-10 teams … Devin Dwyer totaled six points (4g, 2a) to extend his point-scoring streak to 37 games … Devin Dwyer has registered three hat tricks in four games … Morgan Cheek has scored at least one goal in six-straight games and has two hat tricks on the year … Robert Shaw boasts a 4-0 record in goal.
Photo courtesy of Brian Ballweg